How to fail in the lawn business by someone who did it.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. EcoGreen Services

    EcoGreen Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 205

    They should think about Lotto Tickets. :)

    Jeeeeez, Would you be quiet, :) I like buying their low hour equipment cheap when they spend themselves into a hole so deep they will never be able to dig out of . :laugh:

    How else is my Cheap Scottish ass going to keep buying almost new equipment a 50% discount.
     
  2. GreenT

    GreenT LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 43,014

    .

    This thread should be a sticky. Thanks Procut for saying what many wouldn't dare to say.

    When I joined this site it didn't take me long to figure out the failure rate had to be high in this industry. We have no standards, no baseline to identify problems, very few - if any - educational/licensing requirements, and any able body can get set up to do 'business'.

    Knowing that many here - and I mean many, if not most - don't know the difference between a P&L and a balance sheet, gross earnings versus net, let alone the implications of their cash flow on their operation, is not encouraging.

    It's sad, really.

    .
     
  3. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,625

    Bump for the newbies.

    Dave...
     
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I couldn't wade thru every page of this post but wow what a great discussion for the last year.
    I read the initial post and can honestly say I never had the desire to go to the next step however my situation is different from some here. I am a full time part timer. My business is basically solo, stand alone. The only help I get is from my wife both in the field and office. No grand plan for huge expansion. I have turned a profit in 13 of the 15 years I have done this. Year one and two were learning years and there was no Lawnsite or Lawnicure to go to.

    I feel bad for guys that have the desire to do well but for many reasons it doesn't happen. This industry has a place for many different type of individuals however all can't make it to the top tier and be profitable.

    i won't go on because I am sure this has all been hashed over the last year. I am just glad to see that there still are relevant discussions here no matter what side you may be on. Thanks to all.
     
  5. I hear all the talk about yards being the same price now as they were in the eighties. But what about all the advances in equipment that helps us get yards done in a fraction of the time as it use to? Any insight about this from the oldies on here?
     
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Sure, you can do them faster, but trucks, trailers, mowers, trimmers, fuel, property tax, groceries, etc., etc., etc. are 40-50% more as well.

    Prices will always stay the same, people are only going to pay so much for a yard, whether $30 for a small residential, or $10,000 for a complex commercial. At a certain point, it doesn't pay for the customer, whether residential or commercial to put more money into landscaping.

    Commercial accounts will cut back on areas to be maintained, number of times for bushes to be trimmed, mulch installs every other year or not at all.

    Residentials will either look on the telephone pole, newspaper, Craigslist or the yellow pages for the next startup.

    There's a roof to pricing in this industry, but there's no roof to the cost of living.
     
  7. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    I guess I'm one of the "oldies"! Strictly residential, with a smattering of small professional offices, all on a tight route. Generally handle around 100 accounts per season. We offer much and light landscape as well, but I sub out snow and fert. A friend runs a landscape/hardscape service, and gets my work for larger installs. All my properties are within 3 miles of my home, and most are "cluster cuts". (2, 4, maybe 6 or more together). I've seen the good times, the boom times. Today its location, some areas and regions have fared far better than others economically. I'm lucky to have kept my niche, and thankful for that, cause I still love the work.
     
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    This is the way to make it in this business. You have to have a niche. Mine is to find commercial accounts, where I can do the full service, snow, grass, mulch, fert, irrigation, light landscape, etc.

    I figure out much for each service for the season, and divide by 12. I basically have 50 accounts that I'm salaried on for the year.
     
  9. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    The advances in equipment and productivity have not been great enough to justify simply, stupid pricing. We had 60" zero turns, 48" walk behinds, string trimmers and back pack blowers in the 70's. Equipment is now often more durable or easier to handle. Riders have more power and better decks allowing for more speed in some cases, but basically nothing has changed. Lack of change also encompasses the lack of business savvy of many beginners and their I can do it for less mentality. What is there about the entrepreneurial spirit that prohibits new people from coping from the success of others, not mucking up the market place and industry like a loose cannon????
     
  10. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,993




    Its like that in EVERY industry. Just something people have to deal with.
     
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